Rise And Eat: Breakfast Doesn't Have To Be Boring, Complicated Or Unhealthy
Copyright 1994 San Jose Mercury News
From Knight-Ridder/Tribune Information Services
Selected and Prepared by Tribune Media Services
By Julie Kaufmann
Another morning, another bowl of the same cold cereal.
Yawn. No wonder it's so hard to get out of bed.
Breakfasts don't have to be this way.
In the morning rush to get yourself off to school, it may seem there's no time for
anything more than that bowl of flakes. But if you are willing to do some work the day
or night before and get up a few minutes earlier, you and your family can enjoy hot
pancakes and syrup, chewy dried fruit bars, sizzling sausage or crunchy breakfast cookies.
Lots of kids say they aren't hungry for breakfast, or they don't have time, but skipping
breakfast is a big mistake. ``You are going to get tired, lethargic ... rather cross and unable
to pay attention,'' says Joanne Ikeda, a registered dietitian with the Department of
Nutritional Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. In other words, even if
you've done your homework, you aren't really ready for school unless you've eaten
Why? Well, your body gets energy by making a substance called glucose from the food
you eat. Your blood delivers the glucose to cells throughout your body. The system
works fine as long as you eat regularly, every four to six hours or so. But if you finish
dinner at 7 p.m. and don't eat anything until the next day's lunch, you are asking your
body to go 17 hours without food!
As the morning drags on, you'll be distracted and hungry. You won't do your best work,
your friends will wonder why you are so crabby, and your growling stomach may keep
the person next to you from hearing the teacher.
In addition, Ikeda says, studies have shown that kids who skip breakfast are less likely to
eat all of the vitamins and minerals they need and are more likely to overeat or go on
an eating binge later in the day.
Ikeda recognizes that some kids really aren't hungry when they first get up. ``But they
will be hungry in an hour or so,'' she says. She recommends taking along a breakfast of
cheese and crackers, a bag of mixed dry cereals or a few dry-roasted almonds that you can
munch on the bus, at recess or between classes.
A boring breakfast can give your body the fuel it needs to walk to school, be nice to your
friends and think of the answer to question 9 on the math pop quiz. But a fun breakfast
gives you a reason to hit the kitchen with a smile on your face. Who knows? A
steaming bowl of broken rice soup might help the adults in your family beat the
morning blahs, too.
Here are ideas for 20 breakfasts: a month of school days. Some recipes you can make on
your own. For others, you may need help from an adult. Remember to do as much as
you can the night before (many of these recipes you can make on a weekend and freeze)
so you don't mess up the kitchen too much or take too much time and miss your ride to
1. Be creative with bread. Make a sandwich of cheddar cheese and apple butter. Or add
crushed pecans to cinnamon sugar, store in a closed jar and put on buttered toast.
2. The following recipe makes delicious, very crumbly cookies containing a lot of
nutrients, but also a lot of fat. I wouldn't eat them every day. Make them ahead and
keep in a tightly closed tin or jar, or freeze them and take them out of the freezer the
night before you want to eat them.
(Makes about 4 dozen)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal
1/2 cup peanut butter (optional)
2 1/2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon oat bran
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon non-fat dry milk powder
1 cup raisins or currants
Turn oven on to 350 degrees. Spread oats on a cookie sheet with sides or in a large
baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly toasted, stirring once or twice. Put
oats into a bowl and toast walnuts the same way for 10 to 15 minutes. Using electric
mixer, beat butter. Add sugar and continue mixing. Add eggs, then oil and vanilla. Mix
well. Add remaining ingredients, mixing with a big spoon if batter gets too thick for
mixer to handle.
Use your hands to shape the mixture into balls as small as a walnut or any size you like.
Place balls on ungreased cookie sheets and use a fork to push them flat. Bake for 12 to 18
minutes. Small cookies will be done sooner. Take them out before the bottoms burn.
Remove from the pan and let cool on a rack.
Adapted from ``Morning Food'' by Margaret S. Fox and John Bear (Ten Speed Press,
3. Make apple crunchies. Cut an apple into 8 pieces, spreading peanut butter on one side
of the apple. Coat the peanut butter with Rice Krispies or other cereal.
4. Make the delicious Bisquick coffee cake. The recipe is on the box (I melt the butter
when I make the streusel topping, though). You could make this cake the night before
and warm it up or eat it at room temperature. I was curious, so I made the cake from the
recipe on a box of Reduced Fat Bisquick. My kids hated it.
5. Make cherry-cashew oatmeal mix by combining 2 cups rolled oats, 1 teaspoon
cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 cup dried cherries, 1/4 cup cashews, 1/3 cup
non-fat dry milk powder, 1/3 cup brown sugar in a bowl. Store mix in a tightly closed
container up to two weeks. In the morning, combine 1/2 cup of the mixture with 3/4
cup water in a large cereal bowl one that will hold about 2 to 3 cups so the oatmeal
won't boil over. Microwave on medium for 5 or 6 minutes. Stir. To cook on the stove,
bring the ingredients to a boil, then simmer until thickened, about 4 or 5 minutes. Eat as
is or with more milk and sugar. Serves 1.
6. Fry up eggs with hats. Take 1 piece of bread for each person and cut a round hole in
each piece with a cookie cutter. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a small non-stick skillet
and place the bread in it. Put the round piece in the skillet, too. Cook the bread over
medium heat until it is light golden on one side. Flip it over with a spatula, lower the
heat and break an egg into the hole in the large piece of bread. Some of the white will
run over the edges. Flip over the circle so it toasts on the other side. Lightly salt and
pepper the egg. Put a lid on the skillet and cook for a few minutes. Check to see if the
yolk is setting. When it is as hard as you like it, lift it out with the spatula and put the
circle of toast on top.
7. This, a combination of my mother-in-law's granola and the one in ``The Tassajara
Recipe Book'' by Edward Espe Brown (Shambhala, 1985), is so low in fat that it doesn't
(Makes about 6 cups)
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds (or chop whole almonds in a food processor)
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 shake ground cloves
Dried fruit (optional)
In advance: Turn oven on to 300 degrees. Spread oats in a large pan. Bake for about 10 or
15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Meanwhile, stir bran, wheat germ, sunflower seeds
and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Combine rest of ingredients, except dried fruit, in a
glass measuring cup and heat in microwave for 1 or 2 minutes (or heat in a small
saucepan on the stove). Stir until they are well mixed.
Add toasted oats to grains in bowl. Pour warm liquid over grains. Mix well with a big
spoon until all grains are moistened. Spread granola in pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes,
stirring every 10 minutes, until granola is lightly toasted. Let cool, then add fruit if
desired, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Eat with milk and fruit if
8. Bake eggs by spraying a muffin tin (as many sections as you have people to feed) with
non-stick spray or shortening. Put about a tablespoon of ketchup or salsa in each section
and break an egg into each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and grated cheese such as
cheddar, Jack, Fontina, Gruyere or Parmesan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate
overnight. In the morning, take off the plastic wrap and bake in an oven heated to 325
degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, longer if you like your eggs firm, while you get dressed for
school. Use a table knife to pop them out. Serve with or on top of toast. (Hint: Fill any
muffin spaces you aren't using halfway with water.)
9. Make puffy Dutch baby pancakes by whirling 3 eggs in the blender the night before,
adding 1 cup buttermilk and 1 cup flour. Whirl again. Stop blender, scrape down sides
with a rubber spatula. Whirl again. Place blender jar in refrigerator. Get out 9-by-13-inch
pan or 12-inch cast-iron skillet.
In the morning, turn oven to 425 degrees and put 2 tablespoons butter or margarine in
pan and put in oven until butter melts but doesn't burn. Pour batter into hot pan. Bake
for about 20 minutes, until pancake is puffed and brown. Try not to open the door until
pancake has puffed. Eat with syrup, fruit, jam or lemon juice and powdered sugar.
10. Have couscous, a nutritious grain that is eaten a lot in Mediterranean countries and
is easy to fix by soaking it in hot water the night before (just follow directions on the box)
and mixing with raisins and cinnamon. Eat it just that way in the morning, or heat it up
and add butter, maple syrup or milk.
11. We tried this recipe out with 6- to 11-year-olds. Six out of seven liked it. Keep this for
when you have a little more time in the morning.
(Serves 2 to 3)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 shake dry ginger
1 shake nutmeg
1 shake allspice
3 shakes cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate (right from the can)
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup milk
The night before, put flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and
pecans in a mixing bowl. Stir well. Put eggs, pumpkin, orange juice, oil and milk in
another bowl. Mix well with whisk or eggbeater. Cover bowl of wet ingredients with
plastic wrap. Refrigerate.
In the morning: Heat 1 more tablespoon oil in frying pan or griddle over medium heat.
Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir just until all flour is absorbed. When one
drop of water dropped onto the pan sizzles and pops, spoon batter onto pan. You can
make the pancakes any size. When bubbles form and pop on top of pancakes, leaving
small holes, flip them. Cook second side until lightly browned. Serve with maple syrup.
12. Eat soup like kids in Asian countries do. Have a mug of your favorite canned or
homemade soup in a mug ready to microwave in the morning. Or mix chicken broth
the night before with a few tablespoons of leftover rice. This is a pretty good version of
the broken rice soup eaten in Bangkok.
13. The night before or even way ahead, make turkey-apple sausage by combining half a
grated apple minus the core and peel with 1/2 pound turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4
teaspoon each of pepper, sage and ground coriander. Shape into patties. Cook in a
non-stick skillet (you might have to add a little oil or butter if you use really lean turkey)
until the bottoms are browned. Flip and cook on the other side until they are cooked
through. You could cook these in the morning (they taste better), but think of the time it
will take to clean up! So cook these ahead, refrigerate and heat in the microwave in the
morning. Or freeze them on a cookie sheet until they are hard. Then load them into a
plastic bag and pull them out when you are ready to reheat them. This makes 8 patties.
14. Don't forget tortillas. The night before, spread a couple of them with peanut butter
and jelly and roll them tightly into a log. Or do the same with non-fat refried beans, a
little salsa and some shredded cheese (or any filling you like, including finely chopped
vegetables). Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. In the morning, grab one or
two rolls, cut them into pieces or munch on them in one long piece. Or put pizza sauce
and cheese on a tortilla (or a bagel) in the morning and put it under the broiler until the
15. Have a picnic breakfast of a hard-boiled egg, apple and cheese slices and crackers.
16. These fruit bars are packed with nutrients and have only 2 grams of fat each, not
nearly as much as many of the fruit bars you buy. Make a big batch and freeze them,
taking as many as you need out of the freezer the night before.
DRIED FRUIT BARS
(Makes 15-25 squares)
Non-stick cooking spray
1/2 cup cake flour (this is different from regular flour)
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or use a total of 3/4 cup cake flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup chopped walnut
1/2 cup chopped apple, peeled
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 1/4 cup mixture of (pick two or three or more) chopped apricots, peaches, pears,
cherries, golden or dark raisins.
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
2 tablespoons fruit juice (orange, apple, cranberry or your choice)
1 tablespoon canola oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-9-inch or 7-by-11-inch baking dish with
parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray and set aside. In a bowl, mix flours
(put the flour through a wire sieve or cake sifter if you like), baking powder, salt,
cinnamon, brown sugar and walnuts.
In another bowl, mix all the fruits.
Add flour mixture to fruit mixture and with your hands or a fork, toss to separate the
fruits and mix well.
In a small bowl, mix egg and egg white, juice and canola oil. Pour into flour-fruit
mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon.
Pour into prepared dish and pat down to spread it out. Bake for about 25 minutes or
until it is golden and the center is springy to the touch. A cake tester or toothpick stuck
into the middle should come out clean. Cool about 10 minutes in the pan on a wire
rack. Cut into squares, cool completely and store in an airtight container or freeze in an
Adapted from ``Have Your Cake and Eat It Too'' by Susan G. Purdy (Morrow, $25)
17. Make a yogurt smoothie by whirling yogurt, some fruit or juice and ice cubes in the
blender. One great combination: 8-ounce carton of strawberry yogurt, 1 cup orange juice,
1 banana, 3 to 4 ice cubes.
18. Many people love muffins, but the ones you buy are loaded with fat. These aren't
and the carrots add fiber and vitamins. Make them ahead.
(Makes 12 muffins)
11/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 beaten eggs
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple (juice pack)
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Non-stick cooking spray
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
In a large bowl, stir all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, baking powder,
cinnamon and ginger. Make a well in the center; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, stir
eggs, undrained pineapple, carrot, raisins, corn syrup and vanilla; add all at once to flour
mixture. Stir until just moistened.
Spray 12 standard-size muffin cups with non-stick coating or line cups with paper
baking cups. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake in a
400-degree oven about 20 minutes or until golden.
19. We also tested banana-cheese English muffins with kids and six out of seven liked
them. (The seventh finally made herself a plain fried egg.) One thing the testers learned
is that melted sugar is very hot. Don't try to eat the bananas right away.
To make them, gently pull apart 2 whole-wheat English muffins and toast them. Slice 2
bananas into circles. Melt 2 tablespoons butter or margarine in a skillet over medium
heat and add the bananas. Cook them, stirring gently until they begin to soften. Add 2
tablespoons brown sugar and continue to stir. Meanwhile, spread some ricotta cheese on
the toasted muffins. Spoon bananas on top. Let cool before eating. You could use other
fruit, too. Makes 4.
20. Eat leftovers. Potatoes (you could fry up leftover baked ones into home fries), pasta,
meat loaf, soup or pizza, for example. There's no law against it, and people in other
countries do it all the time.
(Julie Kaufmann, a business editor at the San Jose Mercury News, is the mother of two.
Write her at the San Jose Mercury News, 750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, Calif. 95190;
phone (408) 920-5065; fax (408) 920-5917; or send e-mail to jkaufmann on Mercury Center
or jkaufmannaol.com on the Internet.)